Content Mistakes Financial Brands Make & How to Fix Them

Financial services tend to puzzle most customers. Understanding how to apply for a loan, pick the right insurance or open a retirement fund can often make people overwhelmed to the point that they abandon their plans altogether.

For companies in this space, poorly informed and overwhelmed prospects can translate into lost clients. There’s also the issue of a growing distrust that customers have with the banking industry: financial services remain the least-trusted sector, according to a 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer: Financial Services Report. 

If you’re a financial brand eager to prove that you are a reliable partner, content can help.

At Americaneagle.com, we work with businesses like yours to create industry-specific content that builds long-lasting relationships with your audience. We’ll show you how to gain more business by avoiding the most common content mistakes of those in the financial services industry, such as:

Failing to create content that relates to your target audience

A simple Google search will reveal that many financial companies deliver similar content to different audiences.

Whether you’re a central bank, a credit union or an insurance company, you need to speak directly to your primary prospects. You wouldn’t market a farmer’s loan the same as a personal finance app. Your content should be understandable to your target audience.

Let’s say you’re catering to millennials, a group that’s known for having a low level of financial literacy. A report by the George Washington Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC) shows that this group of customers struggle with their money in several ways including:

  • Inability to repay their student loans
  • A tendency to overdraw their checking accounts
  • Increased withdrawals from their retirement account (where applicable)

The lesson is simple: You need to create content that helps these customers reach financial maturity.

Follow this Example

In the past couple of years, Mint, a free budgeting app catering to Millennials, built the number one personal finance blog on the web. Their highly-sharable and practical blogs educate young professionals on everything money, including managing student loans, the costs of 401k early withdrawals and smart retirement strategies. The company keeps production costs low by inviting finance bloggers to write for free.

Ignoring the power of social media

Social platforms can be a real asset when trying to get rid of the stigma that financial businesses like yours are untrustworthy.

Putnam Retail Management found that 84% of financial advisors use social media for business. Almost 92% of them said social media has helped them secure new customers.

These statistics are proof that if you’re not on social media, you’re losing major opportunities.

Here are a couple of ways you can use social media platforms to your advantage: 

  • Increase customer satisfaction by replying to requests in a timely manner (the ideal response time is less than 30 minutes).
  • Boost your overall brand awareness through contests, surveys and giveaways.
  • Attract more qualified leads via special rates and personalized solutions such as chatbots. For some non-financial brands, the chatbot conversion rate turned out to be 266% higher than the average social ad.

Of all financial institutions, banks are the ones becoming more social media savvy, shows a 2019 report from the American Bankers Association. They’ve achieved that by showing their human side by engaging with community members in a lighthearted way.

Follow this Example

Bank of America is winning the social media game on Facebook thanks to a combination of visual and video assets. Nearly 3 million people follow their account and the number is growing. Their secret? A mix of 30-second clips that promote Bank of America initiatives, posts that revolve around current social issues, gorgeous banners, and blog posts with a financial focus from renowned lifestyle websites.

Having an illegible fine print that intimidates customers

Financial privacy notices fall under the content umbrella. Fine print that is plagued by jargon and long, perplexing sentences makes customers uneasy and more likely to pull back. A recent Monotype/CITE Research survey found that 65% of clients said legible fine print makes a financial institution more trustworthy and nearly a quarter of them have stopped a financial transaction because of illegible fine print.

One way to ensure your materials written for the general public are legible is to create them for a junior high school level.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC), an advocacy organization aimed at protecting privacy in the digital age, analyzed 60 financial privacy notices (some from other industries) and discovered that they are written at a 3rd or 4th year college reading level. Chase, PNC Bank, and American Express were all graded as being “very difficult” in terms of readability.

Follow this Example

Here are some ways to create better, more digestible fine print for your documents:

  1. Be clear and concise. A sentence like "We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect customer information,” might be concise, but it’s not clear.
  2. Simplify sentences and use bullet lists to break down complex ideas.
  3. Incorporate plain language that readers use in their everyday lives.
  4. Avoid multiple negatives that can confuse readers. This, from California Federal Bank, is an example: “If you choose not to receive such solicitations from unaffiliated third parties, you may instruct Cal Fed not to disclose your non-public personal information.”
  5. Use an easy-to-read typeface such as "serif.” You also want to keep sentences around 40 characters.
  6. Widen your margins and make sure there is enough line spacing.
  7. Emphasize keywords with boldface or italics.

You can apply these quick tips right away to upgrade your financial copywriting. Americaneagle.com content creators have an entire toolbox of strategies designed specifically for businesses like yours. We’ve helped banks and lenders not only build but also populate their websites with ROI-driven, compelling content. Check out this full list of digital marketing services and join our list of successful clients today.


About Author

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Andreea is part of Americaneagle.com's talented team of digital writers. Previously, she was a Lifestyle reporter for the Chicago Tribune and a digital content creator for a marketing agency, assisting a number of Fortune 500 companies with their content and marketing strategy. When she's off the clock, Andreea can be found either on her exercise mat, riding her bike, or soaking up the sun in one of the city's parks and nature preserves.


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